Whoever said that the archery is boring? At the 23rd Universiade in Izmir, the sport was one of the optional disciplines and again showed its stuff. In fact, the world's best rivaled each other in what can undoubtedly be described as last year’s best tournament! Some people feel that archery has a rightful place in our sports programme and eventually, it may become a mandatory sport at the Universiade. Among these, of course, is Juan Carlos Holgado from Spain, our technical delegate for archery who is also responsible for competitions at the International Archery Federation (FITA): "Since 1996, FISU has successfully organized several World University Championships in this discipline, without even mentioning the previous Universiade tournament (Daegu 2003) which was another triumph. And every time, participation was high and quality was great".
FISU Technical Chairman Juan Carlos Holgado with Slovak First Lady Sylvia Gasparovicova
One must admit that the sport has many advantages. Mr. Jim Easton, a former President of the International Archery Federation who was present in Madrid (ESP) said in its praise: "archery is very popular in universities" (…) "whatever the archer’s weight, size, and strength, success for him (or for her) depends only on work, concentration, and determination to keep improving. This is a very gratifying sport. It helps archers develop their mental faculties and increase their level of concentration. Another important point – the very best in this discipline are between 18 and 22, which often coincides with the university years." Mr. Easton added: "We are very happy about the joint efforts we have made with FISU in recent years. Archery has now become an integral part of the international university sports calendar and I am delighted. In 2009, we can expect to have the sport on the programme again in the Belgrade Universiade."
Archery has become one of our blue-chip sports at FISU. So much so, that when we inaugurated our new headquarters, our president George E. Killian and the new FITA President, Mr. Ugur Erdener, decided to seal the partnership by signing a full-fledged cooperation agreement. This was the first time in FISU history that we have signed a contract like this with an international sports federation. No doubt FISU has always tried to maintain excellent relationships with sports federations in general, but this kind of agreement goes one step further towards real collaboration in the interest of both parties. Concretely speaking, FISU and FITA will now be working hand in hand to promote university competition (inclusion of the Universiades and the World University Championships in the FITA official classification for example).
The Slovakian town of Vinice, just 25 km from Bratislava, and its archery club (the largest club in the country) were an ideal location for the sixth World University Archery Championship. Backed by strong experience in organizing many WUC and several Universiades, the Slovakian University Sports Federation had another opportunity to show us its know-how as a host. The technical conditions of the championship were excellent, as mild weather prevailed.
Hiroko Taguma (JPN)
Japanese Hiroko Taguma was the surprise in this category. She was phenomenally consistent as she climbed to the finals to confront a mighty opponent in Ukrainian Katerina Ksenofontova. But there seemed to be no way to stop Hiroko from reaching her objective. She kept on track, and finally came home with a gold medal as Katerina proved to be the less sturdy of the two. For the men, logically Korean Jong Young Lee took the day. He progressed majestically through the tournament, until he reached his maximum score in the finals (116 points). Just to give you an idea, with that score, Lee could have become Olympic champion as well. Cheng-Wei Kuo, Universiade gold-medal winner in Izmir 2005 could do nothing about it, despite his exemplary consistency.
For her third participation in an international event, French Amandine Bouillot did wonders once again. In the finals she faced the Korean Hyo Sun Kim, whom she had already bested in the finals for this category at the Izmir Universiade in 2005. So history would repeat itself. She had a tougher fight this time, and the narrow gap between the two athletes (1 point) shows just how hard it was. Anna Stratton, an American who was also at Izmir, took third place on the podium. Italian Sergio Pagni, gold-medal winner at the Izmir Universiade, unfortunately did not manage to dominate the men’s finals. His American opponent, Braden Gellenthien was just too good. He won first place with a no-nonsense score of 117-110. The match for the bronze medal went to French Sébastien Brasseur.
The surprising Polish team really stood out in the women's category, ahead of the Korean and China Taipei teams. The podium was more traditional for the men, with gold for China Taipei, silver for Korea, and bronze for China.
Led by Amandine Bouillot, the French took the gold-medal ahead of Korea and the USA. For the men, the Americans and the French were respectively first and second, ahead of the British team that won third. Finally, for the first time there was a mixed competition for both recurve bow and compound bow. In this category, the Americans, Brittany Lorenti/Braden Gellenthien won the day on the compound bow, and Koreans Jae Seung Lee/Ji Yeon Hong took the honours on the recurve bow.
We meet again in Tainan (TPE) in 2008 for the next World University Archery Championship.
Male Athletes: 74
Female Athletes: 53
Total Participants: 165